So what do I have in common with Boris Johnson? The art of scribbling, of course, but also Hergé’s The Further Adventures of Tintin.
It transpires that the most famous ginger boy journalist in history has been keeping the convalescing British prime minister’s spirits up.
Because rather than poring over government papers and that pesky bug the premier has been gorging on Tintin adventures.
In French obviously!
Maybe though he’s looking for inspiration on how to beat the bug because this coronavirus really could be a script out of a Tintin book.
Tintin and the Curse of COVID-19
The one where Tintin and Snowy head for Wuhan and the white fox terrier is captured by wet market traders who want to sell him for food.
And he also exposes a laboratory which is harvesting viruses.
All the gang come out, or are there already…
Thomson and Thompson are on a lecher tour, while Bianca Castafiore is performing to adoring Chinese ausiences.
And ‘blistering barnacles’ Captain Haddock is getting into all kinds of scrapes while Professor Calculus is researching a cure.
My journalist hero (no, not Boris)
Of course Tintin has been a hero for Fiftysomething journalists all over the world.
With the BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardiner even retracing Tintin’s steps for a TV special.
Hergé, interestingly, never left Belgium and his grasp of the world came from a photographer friend.
Which means that the settings were somewhat stylised and his characters stereotyped.
But the adventures were, and still are captivating, and inspired a love of travel in all of us.
The first of his 24 books was Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets which he wrote in the Twenties and where Frank revisited. Which you should do… https://www.visitrussia.org.uk.
While Hergé, like many young men in the Twenties was transfixed by America.
While he also took on the gamgsters of the Prohibition era.
Tintin in the Far East
Tintin does travel out to China https://www.chinadiscovery.com in The Blue Lotus and other exotic destinations Cigars of the Pharaoh and The Crab with the Golden Claws in Northern Africa.
I got a glimpse of Egypt which just stirred my passion to get out there (I had passed up on Sharm el-Sheikh a couple of years ago) from the Jordan side of the Red Sea.
And I had the type of misadventure that Hergé couldn’t even make up, and which I might even reprise when I stir up some courage again… https://www.visitmorocco.com/en.
The best place to see Hergé, of course, is in his homeland, the Hergé Museum in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve outside Brussels https://www.museeherge.com/en.
These days we are all confined to barracks and in the case of Boris Johnson bed-ridden by COVID-19.
So why not, do like Boris and let Tintin take you around the world.
MEET YOU ON THE ROAD